Children who are assigned age-appropriate chores learn that all members of a family, regardless of age, can contribute to keeping the household running smoothly. They also learn to accomplish basic tasks -- and even the youngest family members can gain a sense of satisfaction from completing tasks. Creating a chore chart is a simple, straightforward way to graphically depict who is responsible for a specific chore on a given day. It helps avoid arguments and complaints about "whose turn it is" to do the dishes or take out the trash. Hang the completed chart in the family room or kitchen where everyone can refer to it easily.
Determine which chores you will assign to the children, based on their ages, abilities and the level of responsibility you believe each child can handle. Designate a different colored marker for each child to whom you are assigning chores, using familiar, favorite colors if possible, so the kids can easily identify the assignments that are theirs.
Draw lines on a white marker board with a black marker to create a grid. First, make eight vertical columns across the board -- the first for the list of chores and the others for each day of the week. Then add the rows -- one for each chore you want the children to do.
Label the rows and columns. Starting in the second column from the left, write the days of the week, one per column, across the top of the chart. Next, list the chores by name, one per row, down the left side of the chart. If not all the children can read yet, use a simple drawing to designate a chore; for example, draw a simple place setting to designate setting the table, or a dog dish to indicate feeding the dog.
Fill in the chart for the week by writing the child's name or first initial in her assigned marker color in the blocks for the chores for which she's responsible. Repeat for each child in the chore rotation. Consider designating an occasional "free day" from chores, reassuring all your helpers that the assignments will rotate -- weekly or monthly, whichever works best for your family -- so no one gets stuck with the "yucky" chores all the time. Show your kids the completed chart, explaining how to read it to determine who's responsible for a given chore on a specific day.